la citadelle de Blaye

Located on a rocky promontory on the right bank of the Gironde, the Citadel of Blaye affords a sweeping view of the estuary. As a strategic stronghold, mastery of Blaye was often hotly contested over the centuries, and the city was partly destroyed by Protestant forces in the late 16th century during the wars of religion. In the early 17th century, Louis XIII's government repaired the fortifications and established a modern defence system. These included bastions built according to the most modern theories of the time. 

In the mid-17th century, during the Fronde, Blaye was the gateway to Bordeaux and the entire province of Guyenne (corresponding to the present-day Aquitaine region). It was decided to undertake a second round of works, confirming Louis XIV's determination to transform Blaye into a great fortress. 

In 1680, the engineer François Ferry proposed an initial reconstruction project. The work in progress was inspected in October 1685 by Vauban. Seeing the dilapidated fabric of the buildings and the quality of work done to that point, and after analysis of the original structure, he proposed a different project with a less open square flanked by four bastions, three demilunes and two gateways whose construction was entrusted to Ferry. Work on the citadel began in 1686 and finished in 1689.

The end result was a superb example of how an existing structure could be adapted to a new defence system. Thanks to Vauban and an ambious renovation programme initiated by the city of Blaye, the citadel is outstandingly well-preserved. 


The Citadel is open to the general public and there is no entry fee.

Guided tours of the Citadel via underground passages are available every day for individual visitors.
Cost: 6 € per adult and 4 € per child.

Group tours are possible, by appointment. Commentary is available in French, English, German, and Spanish. 


An educational game revolving around the Citadel enables both children and adults to learn while having a fun time!
Duration: About 2 hours – 2 € per questionnaire.


The Blaye Tourist Office centralises information pertaining to activities and special events taking place in the Blaye area (tourist train, visits to the Museum of Archaeology and the History of Blaye, wine tours, trips along the banks of the estuary with the Conservatoire de l’Estuaire, river cruises, Cinésites outdoor cinema in historic settings, international show-jumping competition, theatre festival, Heritage Days, etc.). 


Blaye ourist Office
Tel. + 33 (0)5 57 421 209

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